Good support vital to lifestyle change

In a study involving 23 general practices, Irish investigators looked at what influences patients to change their lifestyles.

Most of the 45 patients interviewed were older than 60. As a result of participation in a previous study, some had improved their lifestyle and some had not.

Support from health professionals and other patients was important for making lifestyle changes. Even pets had a role, because the need to walk a dog encouraged physical activity.

A lack of support was a barrier to change. Some social contacts were unhelpful because of their views on exercise, smoking and alcohol.